SetWidth850 HomePlus Nelson General Manager Ben Honman standing by one of the recycling bins

Recycling champions, small changes have made a difference

13 February 2020 by Dan Rawling

HomePlus Nelson is part of the Richmond Glass group, which is run alongside the head office and glass production facilities in Richmond, Nelson. General Manager Ben Homan joined the team in 2019 and was focused on reviewing each part of the business. This included the large monthly charge for waste removal of between $2000-$3000 a week for 2-3 skips. The skips mostly contained glass waste from replacement windscreens, doors and windows and to a lesser degree suppliers' packaging (such as wooden pallets, cardboard, foam and plastic), along with their general waste. This represented, he was staggered to understand, around 46 tons of waste per month going directly into landfill. 

Ben was driven to do something about this and began by seeking out a partner who could help him with waste reduction. He engaged with NZ Company 5R Solutions, which specialises in recycling (particularly glass recovery), to see how they could help Nelson reduce their landfill waste and costs. With a mission to Reduce, Recover, Reuse, Residual and Recycle materials, 5R Solutions have developed a program that works across the whole range of waste materials produced by glass businesses. Chris Grant from 5R did an onsite assessment and advised Ben on ways to reduce waste, including a range of collection options for the different materials. 

New recycling bins were brought onsite for: 

  • Glass. Flat and Laminated
  • Plastic Shrink Wrap
  • Paper
  • Aluminium
  • Wood
  • Steel

These were placed alongside existing recycling bins for cardboard, plastic containers and general waste.

Ben met with his staff and outlined the changes the team would need to make, sorting their waste into a range of bins, rather than one large rubbish skip. He discussed the environmental benefits of diverting waste from landfills and the different cost savings that would result for the business. But like everything, he knew the best way to bring about change was by leading by example.

The difference after just a week was remarkable, but some staff were still not fully embracing the new program, so what did Ben do?  Well, he likes to call it a bit of ‘detective work,’ while his staff would describe it as ‘dumpster diving.’ After lunch he separated any materials that had been put in the wrong bin and then followed up with the staff member who had done this, gently reminding them that they needed to sort waste into different bins now.

Positive changes to environmental impact have been significant, removing 46 tons of waste per month away from landfill, but the financial savings are also noteworthy. Previously the average monthly spend was $2,596 (ex GST) for waste removal. With the recycling program in place, the cost has dropped to an average of $592 (ex GST) per month. These costs were mostly for bin hire as opposed to waste removal and add up to savings of $24,048 (ex GST) per year!

The result of some fairly minor changes in staff behaviour in sorting their waste materials into the appropriate recycling bins rather than dumping them into one rubbish skip is exceptional.  A true win-win situation that has meant the changes are far more palatable, well done to Ben and his team at HomePlus Nelson & Richmond Glass.

You find out more about HomePlus Nelson here.

HomePlus Nelson team sorting out their waste for the recycle bins

about the author

Dan Rawling

A big fan of innovation and showcasing Kiwi projects and stories, Dan has an extensive Customer Service and Sales and Marketing background across a variety of industries.

You can contact Dan on 09 478 8018 or emailing [email protected]

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